By Nico Beland
Movie Review: *** ½ out of 4
WARNER BROS. PICTURES AND COLUMBIA PICTURES
From director, Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Sicario, Arrival) comes the long-awaited sequel to Ridley Scott’s 1982 cult sci-fi classic, Blade Runner…35 years later and follows in the footsteps of Mad Max: Fury Road and Star Wars: The Force Awakens as one of the best sequels to a movie released several years ago. However, unlike a franchise like Star Wars where it became a hit immediately when the first movie came out, the first Blade Runner movie was not a hit film when it came out in 1982, it was a box-office flop, people criticized the original ending, and it was overshadowed by Steven Spielberg’s E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, but later gained recognition when the Director’s and Final Cuts were released on home video and now it’s declared a classic.
So, in 2017 we finally have a follow-up to the original film, Blade Runner 2049 with Ridley Scott (Alien, Gladiator, The Martian) returning as producer and Harrison Ford (Star Wars franchise, Indiana Jones franchise, Air Force One) reprising his role from the first movie as Deckard. For a sequel to a movie that’s 35-years-old it does everything a good follow-up does, expands on the story, establishes more characters, and explores more of the ideas introduced in the first movie.
Set thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling-Lars and the Real Girl, Drive, La La Land) uncovers a long-buried secret with the potential of plunging what remains of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a journey to find former LAPD blade runner, Rick Deckard (Ford) who has been missing for 30 years, and the two of them must outrun an army of bioengineered humans known as replicants out to destroy them created by manufacturer, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto-Panic Room, Dallas Buyers Club, Suicide Squad) and his lean, mean killing machine named Luv (The Storm, The Girl and Death, Renegades) and uncover the truth.
The film also stars Ana de Armas (El Internado, War Dogs, Overdrive) as Joi, Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, Unbreakable, Wonder Woman) as Lt. Joshi, Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire, Freaks of Nature, The Martian) as Mariette, Carla Juri (Wetlands, Morris from America, Brimstone) as Dr. Ana Stelline, Lennie James (Snatch, Get on Up, Double Play) as Mister Cotton, Dave Bautista (House of the Rising Sun, Guardians of the Galaxy, Spectre) as Sapper Morton, David Dastmalchian (Prisoners, Ant-Man, Gotham) as Coco, Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips, Eye in the Sky, The Brothers Grimsby) as Doc Badger, Hiam Abbass (Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Sense of Wonder, The OA) as Freysa, Wood Harris (As Good as It Gets, Southland Tales, Creed) as Nandez, and Edward James Olmos (Battlestar Galactica, Stand & Deliver, 2 Guns) reprising his role from the first film as Galf.
Overall, Blade Runner 2049 is a visually stunning, solidly acted, and consistently thrilling follow-up to an already great film. Though I don’t think it’s better than the first one it’s definitely as good and expands on the ideas the first movie introduced however your butt may hurt by the time it’s over.
Really that’s my only gripe with this film but it doesn’t ruin the movie, it’s a near 3-hour movie, definitely longer than the first movie and there are a few scenes where I was like “Yeah you could have cut that” and some scenes do go on for a long time, but with that said it’s filled to the brim with eye candy and it’s impossible not to admire the impressive visuals.
Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford make a good team-up even if Ford doesn’t show up until the second act. They’re both developed well, have decent chemistry, and the two of them kick plenty of ass.
But who truly shines in this film is Jared Leto as the villain and I’m convinced he will forever be known for portraying psychopaths (I mean, this is the guy who played the Joker in Suicide Squad and mailed Viola Davis used…you know!). Every time he is on-screen Leto is just soaking it up and enjoying every deliciously evil moment of screen-time and he blurs the line between being naturally threatening and kind of silly.
Hopefully this movie will appeal to more people theatrically than the original cut of Blade Runner from 1982 just so we don’t have to deal with Director’s Cuts or Final Cuts of Blade Runner 2049 when it comes out on DVD. Let the movie be great from the start and keep the sci-fi geeks and film enthusiasts coming back.
If you’re a fan of Blade Runner and haven’t seen the movie yet then why are you even reading this? Go see Blade Runner 2049 it’s one of the best sci-fi sequels I’ve seen in a long time and manages to capture the 80s nostalgia of the first movie while still appealing to mainstream audiences.